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Writing historical fiction: sometime journal of a New York City novelist

the magic of old books.

I bought an old research book for my new novel, printed in England in 1895. It has such history in it for it was printed when the old Queen Victoria was on the throne. Someone made notes on it with a fountain pen… how can the Kindle ever compete with this? Who wrote those notes? They likely no longer are with us and their prized books dispersed. I wish I knew the journey of all the old books which find their way to my shelves. When writing THE PLAYERS, I studied one of the 13 extant copies of Shakespeare's sonnets, published in 1609. It belongs to Yale and is housed in their Elizabethan Club. Studies trace that copy's ownership back a few hundred years but no further. It had some foxing on the pages and here and there the mark of a candle's spark. Who knows? Shakespeare himself may have owned it or someone with whom he drank at the local taverns. Or perhaps a fellow actor who played at the Globe with him, maybe even his dear friend John Heminges who help compile the First Folio some fourteen years later... ah, the beloved history of old books!
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